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The Uncompromising Customer: Addressing the Paradoxes of the ‘Age of I’ 

At the 2017 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) released its 2017 Trends Report - The Uncompromising Customer: Addressing the Paradoxes of the ‘Age of I’. The report highlights the uncompromising nature of today’s customer, who increasingly expects brands to deliver experiences that satisfy contradictory needs.

The 2017 IHG Trends Report is the fifth in a series of reports that share insights into the changing world and provide best practices to help make brands fit for the future. The insights it contains are based on a series of related studies spanning a five-year period and involving nearly 40,000 interviews with travelers across the globe.

IHG’s research identifies four paradoxes that are driving the decisions customers make in a landscape constantly changing through advances in technology. In this environment, customers do not want either/or solutions: they want the best of both worlds where the best trade-off is no trade-off. The four paradoxes are:

  • The Paradox of Separate but Connected: Seeking a constant belonging with people, brands and places, while also seeking individuality and the desire to communicate uniqueness of self
  • The Paradox of Abundant Rarity: A desire for luxury to be both scarce and available
  • The Paradox of Seeking a Better Me and a Better We: Seeking personal self-improvement, while seeking public, civic or global improvement
  • Do It Myself and Do It for Me in My Way: A desire to be in control while not being the controller

Global brands must address these paradoxes through being locally relevant and personally differentiating. IHG has identified six best practices through which brands can create experiences that strengthen customer relationships and grow brand loyalty.

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